Thursday, June 3, 2010

Kodiak, Attu, and Shemya

I've been a bit behind on posts.  The fam is in town, so I have some catching up to do.

I recently took a trip out to Kodiak, Attu and Shemya with the officers of the Alaska District, Corps of Engineers.  The purpose of the trip was professional development, specifically to see the terrain surround the Battle of Attu, which took place in 1943.

We arrived in Kodiak and prepared for the USCG flight to Attu the next morning.  The flight goes to Attu on a USCG C-130 every 2 weeks for resupply and personnel change out.  With a night to kill in Kodiak, we hit up the Kodiak Brewery for some Liquid Sunshine and Sarah Pale Ale.  Dinner festivities took place at Henry's Great Alaskan Restaurant.

We awoke early the next morning after attempting to drink the island dry.  At least we had a 4 hour plane flight to sober up.

We had about a 4 hour layover on Attu, the farthest west island in the Aleutian chain.

Our tour guide, Chief Beeson, the officer-in-charge of the United States Coast Guard LORAN station, took us in the snowcat to the top of Engineer Hill.  I should've brought my skis, as this was our transpo for the trip.
Engineer Hill is the location where the Japanese made their final offensive maneuver.  Engineers from the 50th Engineer Battalion and 13th Engineer are responsible for the fending off the Japanese counter attack.

This is a peace memorial constructed by the Government of Japan.  Notice the large peak in the background.  I am sure it would be a first ski descent.

Remnants of war still exist.  A tent stake remains in the ground; 67 years after the guns went silent.
We toured a good part of the eastern half of the island.  We walked through the brig, as much of the structures are still visible, but fallen down.  Looking into Massacre Bay.                   
The Coast Guard station is some pretty nice digs.  Approximately 20 full time personnel are present, and they have a full service kitchen, wood shop, entertainment deck, sporting equipment (snowboards only), and yes.....a bar.  You get 4 beers per night if you are over 21 years of age.
All of the personnel assigned to the District assemble for a group picture.

Marston Matting, which is a steel mat layed down on a subbase material for field expedient airfields, is found discarded everywhere.  This mat was most likely installed by BG Benjamin Talley's Engineers, an icon within the Alaska District.

An old anti-aircraft artillery piece overlooks the current airfield.
Stay tuned for some additional pictures from our 'team building' event in Shemya.  We "double dipped" the Bering Sea and the Pacific Ocean.  Ambient air temperature: 41 F; Water temperature: ~37F; 40+ mph wind not factored in to the windchill.  Pics to follow.

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